Mark Bosnich has said that former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson should be at the top of the list for Melbourne Victory as the search for another new manager begins.
Victory confirmed last week that interim head coach Carlos Salvachua will return to Europe amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and will not return for the resumption of the A-League in July.
That left Victory searching for their third new manager of the season, following the sacking of Marco Kurz in January after just 13 games in charge.
And Bosnich thinks there is no one better suited for the job of restoring Australia’s biggest club to its former glories than Eriksson, who lists England, Lazio, Roma, Manchester City and Leicester City as but a few of the jobs he has managed in Europe.
“In terms of the coach, I think it’s very important and the first name that comes to my mind is Sven-Goran Eriksson,” Bosnich said. “It’s quite simple.
“He’s someone with a magnificent pedigree, great experience and somebody that won’t cost a great deal either at this moment in time, which is something you have to take into consideration. He’s a very wealthy man as it is.
“But in terms of his experience – what he’s done and where he’s been – what a man to bring in to steer the ship and put them back on the same course that they should be. This is the biggest club in terms of commercial and in terms of their fans in Australia.
“Success-wise, it hasn’t been the biggest club for a couple of years now, and it’s not good enough for a club like Melbourne Victory. They’re going to give their best as everyone will do during this little period, it’s going to be very, very different. But securing a head coach has to be a priority.”
The German soccer federation has defended its decision to assess whether four young Bundesliga players who made gestures in solidarity with George Floyd over the weekend must face sanctions.
The DFB also said on Monday that Jadon Sancho’s booking for removing his jersey to reveal a T-shirt with the demand “Justice for George Floyd” had nothing to do with the message — rather, the yellow card was issued because the 20-year-old England forward broke a rule that says players who celebrate goals by taking off their jerseys or lifting them over their heads must be booked for “unsporting behaviour.”
Borussia Dortmund teammate Achraf Hakimi, 21, who displayed the same message after scoring in the same game on Sunday, was not booked because he did not lift his jersey over his head.
The DFB control committee is looking into their gestures and those made by Schalke’s 21-year-old American midfielder Weston McKennie and Borussia Monchengladbach’s 22-year-old French forward Marcus Thuram to see if the four players broke laws that prohibit players from displaying “political, religious or personal slogans.”
McKennie was the first to make a statement when he wore an armband with the handwritten message “Justice for George” around his left arm on Saturday.
Thuram on Sunday took a knee after scoring in Borussia Monchengladbach’s win over Union Berlin.
Sancho and Hakimi followed suit later Sunday.
On Monday, after the DFB said it was assessing the players’ actions, Cologne forward Anthony Modeste became the latest to make a gesture after scoring against Leipzig.
He stood briefly with his right palm facing out and his left palm facing in to display the darker skin on the back of his hand.
Cologne said it was “a clear signal” against racism from Modeste.
Floyd, a handcuffed black man, died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee for several minutes on his neck.
Three other officers were also at the scene.
Chauvin has been charged with murder and all four were fired.
DFB president Fritz Keller on Monday showed his respect and understanding for McKennie, Thuram, Sancho and Hakimi’s gestures.
“If people are discriminated against on the basis of their skin colour, it is unbearable. If they die because of their skin colour, then I am deeply distraught,” Keller said in a DFB statement.
“The victims of racism need all of us to show solidarity.” Keller referred to meetings with victims of discrimination and representatives of organisations that have faced anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim or racist hostility, and said the DFB and German soccer was showing its clear rejection of all forms of racism, discrimination and violence.
Keller also praised both male and female players for taking a stand and showing their solidarity.
“I’m proud of them. I can completely understand the actions from the weekend. Nobody can be indifferent to what happened in the United States,” Keller said.
Former Mainz forward Anthony Ujah was just given a warning by the DFB in 2014 in regard to the ban on political statements when he displayed a T-shirt with Eric Garner’s name and the words “can’t breathe” and “justice,” in reference to Garner’s death after a police officer placed him in what appeared to be a chokehold.
Now playing for Union Berlin, Ujah on Thursday tweeted a picture of his protest from the time, but with Floyd’s name typed above in bold.
Floyd also said “I can’t breathe” before he died.
“If the DFB’s control committee wants to investigate, then I have to ask myself if we all have the same values,” Union sporting director Oliver Ruhnert said. “It’s about a global issue here: The no to racism.”
FIFA urged soccer competition organisers on Monday to apply “common sense” and consider not sanctioning players for solidarity with George Floyd during matches.
The recognition of the “depth of sentiment” over Floyd’s death came in a rare statement by FIFA telling the global game to show flexibility and not enforce laws of soccer it helps to set.
“FIFA fully understands the depth of sentiment and concerns expressed by many footballers in light of the tragic circumstances of the George Floyd case,” the governing body said in a statement.
“The application of the laws of the game approved by the IFAB is left for the competitions’ organisers, which should use common sense and have in consideration the context surrounding the events.”
To most watching Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho remove his jersey to reveal a handwritten “Justice for George Floyd” message on his undershirt, it was a powerful expression of activism on a soccer field.
To the Bundesliga referee overseeing that game, it was an action requiring punishment.
Rarely has a rule looked so out of touch.
At one of the world’s few globally televised sports yesterday, Sancho showed the football world Floyd’s death resonated far beyond the United States.
Floyd, a black man, was filmed gasping for breath in Minneapolis while being pressed under the knee of a white police officer for several minutes. His death has sparked days of protests across the US.
And four players this weekend in German football took a stand in support of the protesters, making their point in the first major football league to resume during the coronavirus pandemic.
The German football federation confirmed on Monday that the referee who penalised Sancho, Daniel Siebert, was following the rules when he showed Sancho a yellow card.
FIFA rules state players should be cautioned for removing their jersey while celebrating. Sancho could face a further sanction for breaching a six-year-old rule prohibiting messages on undergarments — from the political and religious to the personal.
But in removing his jersey to reveal the slogan, Sancho highlighted a cause far bigger than sports.
“The booking of Jadon Sancho, or any other player, for making a statement in support of a man who has been unjustly killed is the wrong decision,” Piara Powar, executive director of soccer’s anti-discrimination Fare Network, told The Associated Press.
“This is not a party-political cause, or an issue that poses a threat to football but an expression of concern and solidarity from minority players.”
Dortmund teammate Achraf Hakimi revealed his own yellow “Justice for George Floyd” T-shirt when he netted Dortmund’s fourth goal against Paderborn. The Moroccan was not booked because he only partially removed his jersey.
“Rather than commenting on what a player should or shouldn’t be doing, shouldn’t our focus be on why players felt the need to do this in the first place?” said Mary Harvey, chief executive of the Centre for Sports and Human Rights, “
Bundesliga player Marcus Thuram invoked Kaepernick on Sunday after he scored for Borussia against Union Berlin, dropping to his left knee. and resting his right arm on his right thigh and bowing his head.
A day earlier, American midfielder Weston McKennie of Schalke wore an armband with the handwritten message “Justice for George” around his left arm. German football federation president Fritz Keller on Monday expressed “huge respect” for the players’ show of solidarity.
“I am proud of them,” Keller said. “From a moral standpoint, I completely understand their actions on the weekend.”
But Keller’s expression of sympathy appeared within a statement announcing the players could yet face disciplinary action because the federation says games “should remain free of political statements or messages of any kind”. That stance sits uncomfortably with Piara, whose Fare network monitors games in UEFA’s Europe-wide competitions for racism.
“Denying high-profile athletes an opportunity to express concern on big issues is neither correct nor can it be controlled in the post-Kaepernick era,” Piara said.
European football has been plagued by racial incidents at games, with few people facing consequences. As a young black player, Sancho has spoken out against the scant punishment for offenders in the stands and on the field.
“It puts the confidence down in players and the love of the sport will go very soon if it doesn’t stop,” he said last year.
From Kaepernick to the NBA’s LeBron James to Sancho, athlete activism is not going away.
Had Sancho, a 20-year-old England international, received a second yellow card in his match for Dortmund, he would have been ejected.
“It is a disciplinary reaction to a fundamental assertion of human rights and that is precisely what we don’t need right now,” Brendan Schwab, executive director of World Players Association, told the AP.
Three years ago, FIFA made a commitment to respect human rights in places the governing body hosts events. Denying players the right of freedom of expression inside stadiums is in direct conflict with that commitment.
The rule (Law 4.5) prohibiting slogans and statements on equipment needs revisiting.
“How can it be that certain rights are not available on a sports field?” Schwab said. “Sport needs to embrace the positive consequences that will come from it being a social leader, particularly at a difficult time.”
English teams took up the cause on Monday. Players from Premier League leader Liverpool posted images of themselves taking the knee on the field at their Anfield stadium. Chelsea said it stood with Floyd and “all victims in the fight against discrimination, brutality and injustice”.
Manchester United star Paul Pogba spoke of his “indignation, pain.”
Sanctioning players in Germany for campaigning against intolerance will create fresh indignation.